World News Brief, Friday December 10

WikiLeaks supporters bring down Swedish government's website; cyber attackers also crashed MasterCard and Visa sites; there are now 1000 mirror sites that contain WikiLeaks information; democracy activists are under house arrest in China in advance of Liu Xiaobo receiving Nobel Peace Prize; China and North Korea have reached "consensus" on defusing Korean peninsula tensions; complicated maths to sort Iraqi cabinet; anti-drug group for Afghanistan

TOP OF THE AGENDA: WikiLeaks Supporters Launch Cyberattacks


A group of hackers defending WikiLeaks brought down the Swedish government's website (Telegraph) for several hours overnight amid warnings they will attack again. The group, which calls itself Anonymous (AFP), also claimed responsibility for closing down the sites of MasterCard and Visa for awhile yesterday after the two firms suspended payments to WikiLeaks, and for attacking the site of a Swiss bank that closed an account of site founder Julian Assange, who is being held in Britain on Swedish charges of sexual assault.

A spokesman for Anonymous (Guardian) said the approximately thousand-member group is "quite a loose band of people who share the same kind of ideals" and wish to be a force for "chaotic good." Over the past several days, WikiLeaks' primary Web address was deactivated, its PayPal account was frozen, Facebook and Twitter (FT) removed accounts run by WikiLeaks "hacktivists" and more, but WikiLeaks ability to publish online is stronger than ever, as the number of "mirror" sites (WashPost) -- clones of WikiLeaks' main contents pages - has grown to more than one thousand.


The relationships that will suffer most from WikiLeaks include many that the neoconservatives, who shaped the Bush administration's foreign policy, were most willing to risk, writes Robert Wright in this New York Times blog.

Julian Assange's arrest on questionable sexual assault charges and the attack on Mastercard's website indicate the WikiLeaks episode is becoming a conflict between Western governments and internet-based anarchists, writes Gideon Rachman (FT).

CFR President Richard Haass writes in Newsweek that State Department leaks offer enough lessons for a course in foreign policy.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange argues in this op-ed (TheAustralian) that his group should be protected not attacked.



PACIFIC RIM: China Cracks Down On Nobel Winner's Friends


Dozens of democracy activists and friends of jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo -- scheduled to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize tomorrow in Oslo -- have been put under house arrest (CSMonitor), strict police surveillance, or are barred from leaving the country, according to human rights groups.

Bit by bit we are learning how China manages reality when reality doesn't conform to Chinese interests: It constructs its own reality, writes CFR's Elizabeth Economy.

China is far from free, but it isn't totalitarian state it has sometimes seemed to be since the Nobel Committee announced its decision last October, writes Peter Foster (Telegraph).

North Korea: China's top foreign policy official met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and the two sides "reached consensus" about defusing Korean peninsula tensions (CNN) that have escalated since North Korea's shelling of South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island last month.

Lapses in Beijing's North Korea policy call into question China's qualifications as a "responsible stakeholder" in the international community, says this Asia Times op-ed.



- Iraq's al-Maliki Struggles to Form Cabinet
- Afghanistan, Neighbors Form Anti-Drug Group


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on